Fic Prompts: Folklore Friday
There were, in hindsight, drawbacks to creating a homunculus out of perishable items.
In the alchemist’s defense, the economy was poor and proper crafting materials were hard to come by. She’d figured gingerbread dough would do for clay in a pinch. The sugar icing decorations and raisin buttons were wholly unnecessary, of course, but it made her apprentice happy and she couldn’t really help that. The eyes had just been two small holes at first, but then the apprentice had given her a little handful of spun sugar he’d been saving for a special occasion.
He was a good-hearted lad, the alchemist decided, and she’d have to see to it that he had a decent headstart in life when he was old enough to head out into the world alone.
Unfortunately, good-hearted did not always translate to good sense. And her apprentice was quite young, after all. A few mishaps ought to have been expected.
The alchemist did not see when her apprentice had tripped earlier, accidentally spilling other ingredients into the dough mixture. Ingredients that might interfere with the process.
The smell of gingerbread filled the air and the alchemist hoped she and her apprentice would be able to keep themselves from getting hungry if the experiment succeeded. The poor homunculus couldn’t help being a gingerbread man. It would be very rude and probably cruel to try to eat him. Perhaps next month they would have coin enough for proper materials.
Her thoughts were interrupted by her apprentice’s concerned voice. “Master? Is it supposed to be doing that?”
No sooner had the boy opened the oven to check the progress of the homunculus than a little gingerbread man had hopped straight out and was cutting a caper on the kitchen counter. He cackled and cartwheeled and hopped about in a most undignified manner.
“Well that’s a bit livelier than I expected,” said the alchemist. She bent down to examine the gingerbread man and frowned. “You’d better calm down before you fall right off the counter!” she admonished. “I need you to help my research. I won’t have you smashing yourself to bits on the tiles.”
“You can’t tell me what to do,” laughed the cookie in a startling baritone voice, “I do as I please!”
“We’ll just see about that,” said the apprentice, and made a grab for him. The half-baked homunculus nimbly dodged the boy’s hands and swung out the open window with a mocking chuckle.
“Run run, as fast as you can.
You can’t catch me,
I’m the Gingerbread Man!”